|In Which Direction is Vladimir Putin Taking Russia?|
Surprising developments are taking place in the world's largest country, Russia.
From Communism to Christianity
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has authorised over 2 billion Rubbles (US$100 million) of tax money to rebuild churches that were destroyed under the previous Soviet regime.
The Russian government is printing Bibles to place in hotel rooms.
Russian Orthodox Church leaders are invited to pray at state events.
Military chaplains are being appointed for garrison churches and to lead Sunday schools and Bible studies in military bases.
A new Russian Public Holiday to commemorate the conversion of the country to Christianity under Prince Vladimir in AD988, has been proclaimed: 28 July.
The West's Degradation
In December, Vladimir Putin declared "Many Euro–Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a Faith in God and a belief in satan. This is the path to degradation."
He has expressed revulsion to the sewage of hedonistic secular and social revolution that is polluting the West. Putin condemns the West's capitulation to the sexual revolution of easy divorce, rampant promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality, abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia. Putin condemns the West's "movement backward and downward into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state."
Warning the West
In many recent speeches and policies implemented, Vladimir Putin is planting Russia's flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.
While condemning the West's culture of darkness and death, he lifts up the Christian culture of light and life. Last year the Kremlin imposed a ban on homosexual propaganda, a ban on abortion advertising, a ban on abortions after 12 weeks and a ban on sacrilegious behaviour and blasphemy.
All of this is most confusing to people who are still caught up in the terminology of the Cold War. Many preachers are still speaking about Russia as a communist and atheist country, yet today, there are more Evangelical, Born Again Christians in Russia, than in any other country in Europe. Ukraine has the second largest group of Evangelical Christians in Europe followed by Romania.
As one Russian declared: "There are more communists in the university faculties of the United States of America, than there are in all of Russia and Eastern Europe combined today!" Having lived under 70 years of atheist propaganda and vicious communist oppression and persecution, Russians today are amongst the most anti-communist people on earth.
Those who still think of Russia as socialist, need to think again. Since Vladimir Putin became president of Russia, the Russian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has doubled. Today Russia is rated as the 6th largest economy in the world. Industry in Russia has grown over 75% in the last 8 years. Investments have increased by 125%. The average salary in Russia has increased over 800%. The middle-class has grown from 8 million to 55 million. People living below the poverty line in Russia have decreased from 30% in the year 2000, to less than 14% today.
While the United States has a trade deficit of more than US$500 billion a year, Russia consistently runs a large trade surplus. While the United States unemployment is officially 7.4%, Russia's unemployment is 5.4%. Russia today produces more oil than any other country on earth. Russia produces more natural gas than any other country. Russia supplies 34% of Europe's natural gas requirements. While the United States debt is greater than its Gross Domestic Product (over 110%), Russia's debt is less than 8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Russia has also added over 570 metric tonnes of gold to their reserves over the last decade.
The Tables Have Turned
It is pretty serious when Russians are warning Americans about the dangers of socialism and godlessness! Now Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's classic books against Communism: The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich are prescribed textbooks in Russian schools.
The New Evil Empire
I ministered throughout Eastern Europe in the 1980s before the Iron Curtain collapsed and on numerous Missions since. I have many Russian and Ukrainian friends. Russian Christians have expressed their shock to me at how America has become the new evil empire. Xavier Lerma of Pravda in Moscow has written that Ronald Reagan was right to call the Soviet Union "The Evil Empire". But now the United States has become The Evil Empire: promoting abortion and privileges for perverts, with an aggressive pro-homosexual marriage agenda, bullying African governments to legalise abortion and perversion and sending generous aid to radical Middle-Eastern governments which severely persecute the Christian church.
A Reversal of Roles
Most Americans seem oblivious to the devastating consequences of their State Department's foreign policy: The bombing and burning of churches in the Middle East that followed the Arab Spring was in so many ways funded and fuelled by US State Department policy. While the US government was supporting Al Qaeda affiliated Jihadists in the Syrian War, the Russian government was speaking up and acting to protect Christians targets in the Middle East.
The Victory of the Cross
As Xavier Lerma in Pravda writes: "21st Century Russia is proof that Christianity can prevail against darkness and confusion. Today the liberals who control the West fear Putin… it is not a nuclear threat, but rather a spiritual renewal that threatens them. It is not Putin, but Russia's Christianity they fear. Rather it is Christ they fear and hate …devout Russian Christians are on the march… these Russians are like disciples of Christ, who lovingly reach out to their brothers and sisters, helping men and women in darkness, enslaved by a materialistic society, who are truly in need of Christ."
Battle for the Family
Lerma writes that the reason the Western media are demonizing Vladimir Putin, and Russia, is not because he is ex-KGB, but because he opposes the perverse agenda of the radical homosexuals. It is ironic that religious freedom is under assault throughout the United States, with military chaplains facing Court Martials for refusing to perform homosexual "marriages", or for praying in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. While in Russia soldiers are being urged to attend church services and military chaplains are being appointed to ensure that "the hands that control the weapons are under the control of minds and souls cleaned by the grace of Christ!"
So, where does Vladimir Putin stand? Is he a Christian?
Vladimir Putin has testified that he is a Christian. In his testimony he speaks of his Mother's Faith and how she secretly baptised him because his Father was a serious Communist Party member and would not have allowed it. He always wears a cross around his neck that was given to him by his Mother. Vladimir Putin regularly seeks Christian counsel, and is seen praying and attending church regularly. The Russian patriarch, Kirill recognises Vladimir Putin as a faithful member of the Russian Orthodox Church and as a devout Christian. In his office, behind his desk, Putin has a large icon of the Lord Jesus Christ prominently displayed.
Contrasts with America
(By way of contrast one should note that since becoming president, Barack Hussein Obama, has not attended a public church service.)
Is Vladimir Putin a Christian?
Only God knows the heart of Vladimir Putin. He is a politician and some of these gestures could be to appeal to the Christian voters in Russia. However, there is no doubt that the Russian president is promoting traditional Christian values in his policies and speeches and that he is a faithful member of the Russian Orthodox Church.
There is no question but that the Russian government today is more Christian than the American government. Where else in the world is a government investing over $100 million in building churches?
Russia – Economic Overview
GDP: US$ 67,260 Billion
Russia – Religion Overview
Population: 142 Million people
It is an incredible reversal of fortunes that countries behind what used to be the Iron Curtain now have some of the most dynamic Christian churches and the highest percentage of church attendance in Europe. It would appear that Western decadence, immorality, materialism, compromise and superficiality, in churches, and shallow, sensational entertainment, have been more deadly to the church than virulent atheist propaganda and vicious communist persecution in the East. When Russians enjoy more religious freedom in public than Americans, then something is seriously wrong. When Russians express their concern about lack of freedom and spiritual discernment in America, we should be very concerned.
"Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this the wrath of the Lord is upon you." 2 Chronicles 19:2
The Reformation Society